Recover Girl

Comedian Jim Norton may, with apologies to Stern, be a rival for the King of All Media (let's just call him the Prince). The co-host of the immensely popular Opie with Jim Norton radio show (he replaced Anthony), Norton's not only been a regular on Leno but also appeared on Letterman and Kimmel. The host of multiple HBO specials and an eponymously titled VICE show, Norton performs stand-up all over the country, is the author of two New York Times bestselling books and has appeared on numerous TV shows, including regular spots on Inside Amy Schumer. Sober since the age of 18 (he's coming up on his 30th sober-versary), Norton's first drink was a Whiskey Sour at a family wedding and his last a year or so after rehab (where he snuck out and drank). Despite his thriving career and decades of recovery, Norton struggles—very openly—with a sex addiction that causes his life to be unmanageable in all the requisite ways. Though he's had periods of dealing with it, at this point Norton is open about the fact that he experimented regularly with other boys as a kid, does the porn-Tinder merry-go-round and has a predilection for transsexual hookers. In this episode, we explored the many facets of his addictive tendencies while also touching on feeling like a fraud, extreme thinking and self-destructive tendencies that bring an inordinate amount of pleasure, among other topics.

Direct download: APP_Jim_Norton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Comedian Debra DiGiovanni has had an enviable career: she's been awarded the Canadian Comedy Award for best female comic for the third time in five years, has been called the “Best Comedian to see after a Messy Break Up” and for three years running was named her hometown Toronto’s favorite comedian. Then there's the fact that she was a finalist on the fifth season of Last Comic Standing, performs all over the world and has been featured repeatedly on Comedy Central. But it's not all laughs—oh, no. The lovely lady has a long history with booze, pot, acid and the like (estimated number of times she'd done acid: hundreds). Though she quit drinking years ago, she's a recent full on convert to sobriety, having given up pot this past January. Next on her radar of addictions to deal with: food. In this episode, we talked about the sort of dreams you have when you quit pot, whether or not small towns make people drink more and not being able to watch TV, among many other topics.

Direct download: EPDEBRA_APP.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Podcaster and musician Shane Ramer has a day job but his passion is recovery—sharing about his journey out of addiction in the hope that he can help others share about theirs. And so one day, he got an idea: why not start a recovery podcast? A month later, That Sober Guy was born; on it, he's interviewed everyone from Paul Gilmartin to Rich Roll to Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach (to yours truly). The father of two kids, Ramer lives in Northern California where he works in customer service at a company where he also hosts an in-company podcast (who knew there was such a thing?) After a rough childhood ("When I watched the show Cops, I always thought my family was going to be on it," he says), Ramer first found drugs and then recovery. In this episode, we talk about being "one of the 'almost' guys, playing the victim and whether getting or staying sober is more challenging, among other topics.

Direct download: Shane_Ramer_AP.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Herb K is something of a legend in the recovery community, having discovered a specific way of working the 12 steps in 1988 (when he was four years sober) and then sharing that way with the world. The author of Twelve-Step Guide to Using the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book and Twelve Steps to Spiritual Awakening; Enlightenment for Everyone, Herb didn't know, when he retired from the four-decade career that he'd spent working in human resources, he'd be launched on a path of guiding people through the spiritual path he found. But now the man who spent seven years in seminary and has a graduate education in psychology conducts workshops and teaches courses on 12-step spirituality all over. In this episode, we discussed the misunderstanding of the word meditation, how guiding adolescents means toning down the spiritual language and the way he first came into recovery (spoiler alert: he thought his wife had the problem), among many other topics.

Direct download: APP_-_Herb_K.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am PDT


Writer, blogger, Instagram star, adopted mom of the cat that looks like Adam Driver—there are very few media fame boxes Emily McCombs hasn't checked. The 32-year-old is also the gal who pretty much single-handedly put xo jane on the map back when it launched in 2011, with the sort of mind-blowing traffic attracted by brilliantly written stories on such topics as talking to your former rapist on Facebook. McCombs has been equally open about her issues with addiction, whether she's writing from the perspective of seven years of sobriety to people who may have drinking problems or sharing about her struggle with sex addiction—in particular the need to give up meeting strange men on Craigslist for random sex. Happily for me, I met Emily when she was 10 days sober and at her first party that offered alcohol (and I was also someone she called for career advice when she was offered the xojane gig—a fact that I manage to drop into conversations every time one of her stories causes a sensation). Now sober seven years, McCombs can sound off about almost anything. In this episode, we discuss if you have to be a tormented kid to be a cool adult, how it seems like all dreams can come true in early sobriety and why being a mom means you can never again toy with the idea of suicide, among other topics.

 

Direct download: Emily_McCombs_AP.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Writer, actor and stand-up comedian Fielding Edlow may claim she didn't get anywhere in her 20s but she's more than made up for it since: after her solo show Coke-Free J.A.P. killed at the NYC Fringe Festival, it was developed as a half-hour pilot for Showtime. Her plays have been finalists with the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Actors Theatre of Louisville and City Theatre. She voices the recurring character ‘Roxie’ on BoJack Horseman and just created and starred in her web series Bitter Homes and Gardens. And there's more! She has a monthly stand-up show—Eat, Pray, Fuck—the third Friday of every month (alas, at the same time and date as the AfterParty storytelling show, which means she can never perform in ours).

Now over 18 years sober and a happily married mother, the former New Yorker seems to be something not many people can claim: content. In this episode, we discuss how recovery is like peeling an artichoke and not an onion, the idyllic early years of sobriety and whether or not it's cheesy and awful to talk to your inner child, among many other topics.

 

Direct download: APP_FIELDING.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Filmmaker Christina Beck's looks may be deceiving: a picture perfect blonde, Beck grew up in the San Fernando Valley and quit high school to became a punk rocker scenester after a crazy night out in Hollywood seeing the band The Cramps. An all-girl rap band called Toe Jam followed, as did acting roles in numerous Penelope Spheeris movies, including Suburbia and The Boys Next Door. Now she's acting in something even more personal: Perfection, a movie she also wrote and directed. Perfection deals not only with substance abuse (the mother character imbibes plenty) but also narcissism (the mother character's got that covered) and self-harm (Kristabelle, the character Beck plays, uses self-harm as a way to cope with those other two factors). Now sober, Beck talks about her month of doing heroin in London, blowing off the high school sorority for the punk rock scene, her own experiences with self-harm and the 10-year journey to get Perfection to the screen, among many other topics.

Direct download: APP_CHRISTINA.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Comedian and writer Bill Dixon (who's, by the by, performed in our storytelling show) had a childhood destined to melt the heart of the hardest souls. His parents met in rehab, his dad took off and his mother—after a long struggle with hardcore alcoholism as well as bipolar disorder—killed herself when he was 12. Miraculously, Dixon managed to come out of those formative years and become an incredible Hollywood success story, writing on and producing Hollywood Game Night with Jane Lynch, being featured on HuffPo, The Today  Show and Fox News, among other well-known places, and running a popular LA comedy show. He's also over a decade sober, after alcoholism so severe that he actually came out of a blackout and realized he was dating someone he didn't know (as he jokes, when your parents meet in rehab, you're destined to become a comedian as well as an alcoholic). In this episode, we discuss planning your shares in AA meetings, whether or not peanut butter is a condiment or a food and what happens when the Dad you haven't spoken to since you were little suddenly starts re-posting your Facebook photos, among many other topics.

Direct download: APP_DIXON_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Author, counselor and Buddhist teacher Noah Levine is a legend in the Buddhist community—not to mention the recovery one (not to mention the world). The 45-year-old author of Dharma Punx and Refuge Recovery, among other works, got sober at the ripe old age of 17, after multiple incarcerations and a youth filled with suicidal ideation. While in juvie, his dad—famed Buddhist teacher Stephen Levine—suggested that Noah try meditation. Thus began the younger Levine's journey, which saw him training with Jack Kornfield, establishing the Against the Stream meditation society and crafting a program that combines Buddhist principles with recovery. (Along the way he got a Masters in counseling.) His program, Refuge Recovery, is now a treatment center but all sorts of rehabs and groups use the principles he writes about in their programs. Levine currently travels the globe, speaking, holding retreats and leading groups. In this episode, we talk about how not to attach to outcomes, thinking about death at the age of five and not working too hard, among many other topics.

Direct download: APP_NOAH_LEVINE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:24am PDT

Writers Nick Reiner and Matt Elisofon, the cowriters of the new addiction and recovery drama Being Charlie, did more than their fair share of research in order to create a compelling, convincing story: the two met when they were roommates at Promises rehab and, after bonding over the usual rehab stuff (that is, making fun of other residents), they started channeling their newfound time and energy into a script. Originally something they wrote for TV (though they confess they truly never thought it go anywhere), Being Charlie eventually got into the hands of Nick’s director dad Rob (When Harry Met Sally and The Princess Bride, among many others). Originally, Rob was just giving the boys notes; eventually, he signed on to helm the project. The story, which focuses on the troubled son of a movie star-turned-politician (played by The Princess Bride star Cary Elwes), was strongly influenced by young Reiner’s own experience (he’s been to 18 rehabs, starting when he was 14 and has had bouts of homelessness you wouldn’t associate with a denizen of Hollywood). In this episode, we discuss the most epic fights the cowriters have had, the ways 12-step has and hasn’t helped them and how the movie isn’t actually The Nick Reiner story, among many other topics.

Direct download: Nick_Reiner__Matt_Elisofon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:15pm PDT